Tommy Johnson-Canned Heat Blues
Recorded on August 31, 1928 in Memphis, Tennessee. Tommy Johnson was a contemporary of Charlie Patton and it is believed that he, along with other blues musicians from the Mississippi Delta area, exchanged ideas and tunes with Patton. "Canned Heat" referred to any one of a number of concoctions based on alcohol found in shoe polish, cooking fuel, etc., which it is believed Johnson had a liking for.
November 18, 2009
Truly one of the most chillings songs in the entire blues pantheon
Many people would describe this as Tommy Johnson's masterpiece, and for good reason.
Sterno at that time was often called "Canned Heat."
Johnson wails his sorrow of alcohol addiction, taken to the extreme of drinking Sterno, strained through bread, in the mistaken belief that somehow made it safe to drink.
Sadly, of course, he was wrong, and his later work rapidly deteriorated as his health predictably declined from his excesses.
However, this song stands out as a superlative blues wail, full of dread at what he clearly knows he is doing to himself, yet unable to force himself to stop.
If this song does not bring up the hairs on your neck, then you have no hair at ALL!
March 8, 2008
Tommy Johnson is wonderful. Undisputed master of the creepy falsetto! Nothing like it for bad moods and rainy days.